I expect that the most talked-about commercial from the Super Bowl is the Chrysler ad featuring Clint Eastwood.
In the commercial, the gravelly voiced Eastwood says that just as it is halftime in the Super Bowl, it’s halftime in America, too. Times are tough, he says. We’re down and out of work, we don’t understand each other, and we’re stumbling in a fog of discord and recrimination. But you can’t knock out America with just one punch. We need to come together to figure out how to come from behind because the second half is ready to begin. Detroit is showing us it can be done, Clint says.
Huh? America as a whole is supposed to follow Detroit’s lead? For the record, Detroit is on its knees. The city is losing money and deeply in debt, and the city government and the state of Michigan are trying to figure out whether the city can avoid being governed by an emergency manager who would have the ability to revise union contracts, restructure government, and sell off city assets like parks. I’m hoping Detroit can pull through, but let’s not kid ourselves — Detroit is no model and no inspiration.
I recognize that the Chrysler commercial provided an excuse to hear the welling music and to see the by-now-standard shots of courageous firefighters, mothers and children, and families standing strong. But it cheapens our country and its circumstances to compare America to a football game, and it’s jarring to receive a commercial message about coming together and sacrifice in close proximity to an over-the-top Super Bowl halftime show featuring Madonna.
Can’t commercials just stick to selling products, rather than trying to send us irksome, ankle-deep inspirational messages about our country?